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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sun, Feb 17, 2008

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

SONATA IN B MINOR By Roy Nakano The marketing people at Hyundai must have had a sense of humor when coming up with a name for its Accord competitor. The Honda was named for the musical term equated with consonance and harmony. So Hyundai chose Sonata - not just a musical term, but rather a complete musical composition. The latest-generation Sonata is a far cry from the early days of Hyundai in America. The workmanship, fit and finish are right up there with the top of its class. Reliability and owner satisfaction is also in a whole different league. Backed up by one of the best warranties in the industry, Hyundai vehicles are now among the most reliable as reported by popular consumer surveys.

The good news for car buyers is that Hyundai still prices its vehicles like an upstart company, rather than as a company at the top of the food chain. Consequently, our review vehicle - loaded with a premium V6 engine and leather seating surfaces - stickered at just over $24,000. A comparably equipped Honda Accord will set you back considerable more. Family sedan buyers are going to like this Sonata. Like the popular Honda Accord, this Hyundai is designed so that everything works the way it should. No hidden buttons, no unusual dials to operate lights, no quirky torque curve to get used to. All the controls are where they should be, and the car operates like a normal, well-built V6 sedan with all the comfort and power associated with the genre. Speaking of comfort, this car has a great ride and plush but supportive seats. The leather seating surfaces (standard on the Limited) replaces the new car smell with the rich aroma of a much more expensive car. Size-wise, the Sonata has plenty of room to seat four, large adults for long trips, plus a fifth one for shorter people.

There are very few nits to pick on the 2008 Sonata. One is an annoyingly loud fasten seatbelt ring-tone that harkens back to the early years of seatbelt sounds. In this day and age, it's just not necessary to make it that loud. The other nit is a key fob where it is all too easy to inadvertently hit the panic/alarm button. It's actually located right about where the unlock button should be (the opposite side of the fob has the trunk-release button in exactly the same spot). Neither of these annoyances are deal-breakers, but both seem like items that the manufacturer should have taken care of by now. All-in-all, the new Sonata is a very able piece of work. Family sedan fans will like this car - particularly those that think the latest Accord has gotten too big. The Sonata is big enough to caress adults in comfort, but trim enough to remain maneuverable in traffic. It's what a family sedan should be.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT More like Sonata in A. For more information about Hyundai products, go to

SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle 2008 Hyundai Sonata Limited V6 Price $24,255 ENGINE Type DOHC CVVT (Continuously Variable Valve Timing) V6 Materials Aluminum block and head Bore & Stroke (mm) 92.0 x 83.8 mm Displacement 3.3 liters Horsepower 234 @ 6,000 rpm Torque 226 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm Valves per cylinder 4 EPA GAS MILEAGE RATING 19 City/28 Highway TRANSMISSION 5-speed automatic SHIFTRONIC® SUSPENSION Front Independent double-wishbone with coil springs, gas-charged hydraulic shock absorbers and 25 mm anti-roll bar (26mm for V6) Rear Independent multi-link with coil springs, gas-charged hydraulic shock absorbers and 15 mm anti-roll bar STEERING Type Power-assisted rack-and-pinion, engine-RPM-sensing Overall Ratio 16.9:1 Turns, lock to lock 3.28 Turning circle 35.8 ft. (curb to curb) BRAKES/TIRES/WHEELS Front Power-assisted 11.0-in.disc (4-cyl.) Power-assisted 11.8-in. disc (V6) Rear Power-assisted 10.3-in.disc (4-cyl.) Power-assisted 11.2-in disc (V6) ABS Four-wheel, four-channel, and four-sensor w/ Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) Tires P215/60VR16 (GLS) P215/55VR17 (SE/Limited) Compact temporary use spare tire DIMENSIONS Overall length 188.9 in. Overall width 72.1 in. Overall height 58.0 in. CURB WEIGHT SE/Limited 3.3-liter automatic 3,458 lbs

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